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jordan Summary and Overview

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jordan in Easton's Bible Dictionary

Heb. Yarden, "the descender;" Arab. Nahr-esh-Sheriah, "the watering-place" the chief river of Israel. It flows from north to south down a deep valley in the centre of the country. The name descender is significant of the fact that there is along its whole course a descent to its banks; or it may simply denote the rapidity with which it "descends" to the Dead Sea. It originates in the snows of Hermon, which feed its perennial fountains. Two sources are generally spoken of. (1.) From the western base of a hill on which once stood the city of Dan, the northern border-city of Israel, there gushes forth a considerable fountain called the Leddan, which is the largest fountain in Syria and the principal source of the Jordan. (2.) Beside the ruins of Banias, the ancient Caesarea Philippi and the yet more ancient Panium, is a lofty cliff of limestone, at the base of which is a fountain. This is the other source of the Jordan, and has always been regarded by the Jews as its true source. It rushes down to the plain in a foaming torrent, and joins the Leddan about 5 miles south of Dan (Tell-el-Kady). (3.) But besides these two historical fountains there is a third, called the Hasbany, which rises in the bottom of a valley at the western base of Hermon, 12 miles north of Tell-el-Kady. It joins the main stream about a mile below the junction of the Leddan and the Banias. The river thus formed is at this point about 45 feet wide, and flows in a channel from 12 to 20 feet below the plain. After this it flows, "with a swift current and a much-twisted course," through a marshy plain for some 6 miles, when it falls into the Lake Huleh, "the waters of Merom" (q.v.). During this part of its course the Jordan has descended about 1,100 feet. At Banias it is 1,080 feet above sea-level. Flowing from the southern extremity of Lake Huleh, here almost on a level with the sea, it flows for 2 miles "through a waste of islets and papyrus," and then for 9 miles through a narrow gorge in a foaming torrent onward to the Sea of Galilee (q.v.). "In the whole valley of the Jordan from the Lake Huleh to the Sea of Galilee there is not a single settled inhabitant. Along the whole eastern bank of the river and the lakes, from the base of Hermon to the ravine of Hieromax, a region of great fertility, 30 miles long by 7 or 8 wide, there are only some three inhabited villages. The western bank is almost as desolate. Ruins are numerous enough. Every mile or two is an old site of town or village, now well nigh hid beneath a dense jungle of thorns and thistles. The words of Scripture here recur to us with peculiar force: 'I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation...And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it...And your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste. Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate' (Lev. 26:31-34).", Dr. Porter's Handbook. From the Sea of Galilee, at the level of 682 feet below the Mediterranean, the river flows through a long, low plain called "the region of Jordan" (Matt. 3:5), and by the modern Arabs the Ghor, or "sunken plain." This section is properly the Jordan of Scripture. Down through the midst of the "plain of Jordan" there winds a ravine varying in breadth from 200 yards to half a mile, and in depth from 40 to 150 feet. Through it the Jordan flows in a rapid, rugged, tortuous course down to the Dead Sea. The whole distance from the southern extremity of the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea is in a straight line about 65 miles, but following the windings of the river about 200 miles, during which it falls 618 feet. The total length of the Jordan from Banias is about 104 miles in a straight line, during which it falls 2,380 feet. There are two considerable affluents which enter the river between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea, both from the east. (1.) The Wady Mandhur, called the Yarmuk by the Rabbins and the Hieromax by the Greeks. It formed the boundary between Bashan and Gilead. It drains the plateau of the Hauran. (2.) The Jabbok or Wady Zerka, formerly the northern boundary of Ammon. It enters the Jordan about 20 miles north of Jericho. The first historical notice of the Jordan is in the account of the separation of Abraham and Lot (Gen. 13:10). "Lot beheld the plain of Jordan as the garden of the Lord." Jacob crossed and recrossed "this Jordan" (32:10). The Israelites passed over it as "on dry ground" (Josh. 3:17; Ps. 114:3). Twice afterwards its waters were miraculously divided at the same spot by Elijah and Elisha (2 Kings 2:8, 14). The Jordan is mentioned in the Old Testament about one hundred and eighty times, and in the New Testament fifteen times. The chief events in gospel history connected with it are (1) John the Baptist's ministry, when "there went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and were baptized of him in Jordan" (Matt. 3:6). (2.) Jesus also "was baptized of John in Jordan" (Mark 1:9).

jordan in Smith's Bible Dictionary

(the descender), the one river of Israel, has a course of little more than 200 miles, from the roots of Anti-Lebanon to the head of the Dead Sea. (136 miles in a straight line. --Schaff.) It is the river of the "great plain" of Israel --the "descender," if not "the river of God" in the book of Psalms, at least that of his chosen people throughout their history. There were fords over against Jericho, to which point the men of Jericho pursued the spies. #Jos 2:7| comp. Judg 3:28 Higher up where the fords or passages of Bethbarah, where Gideon lay in wait for the Midianites, #Jud 7:24| and where the men of Gilead slew the Ephraimites. ch. #Jud 12:6| These fords undoubtedly witnessed the first recorded passage of the Jordan in the Old Testament. #Ge 32:10| Jordan was next crossed, over against Jericho, by Joshua. #Jos 4:12,13| From their vicinity to Jerusalem the lower fords were much used. David, it is probable, passed over them in one instance to fight the Syrians. #2Sa 10:17; 17:22| Thus there were two customary places at which the Jordan was fordable; and it must have been at one of these, if not at both, that baptism was afterward administered by St. John and by the disciples of our Lord. Where our Lord was baptized is not stated expressly, but it was probably at the upper ford. These fords were rendered so much more precious in those days from two circumstances. First, it does not appear that there were then any bridges thrown over or boats regularly established on the Jordan; and secondly, because "Jordan overflowed all his banks all the time of harvest." #Jos 3:15| The channel or bed of the river became brimful, so that the level of the water and of the banks was then the same. (Dr. Selah Merrill, in his book "Galilee in the Time of Christ" (1881), says, "Near Tarichaea, just below the point where the Jordan leaves the lake (of Galilee), there was (in Christ's time) a splendid bridge across the river, supported by ten piers." --ED.) The last feature which remains to be noticed in the scriptural account of the Jordan is its frequent mention as a boundary: "over Jordan," "this" and "the other side," or "beyond Jordan," were expressions as familiar to the Israelites as "across the water," "this" and "the other side of the Channel" are to English ears. In one sense indeed, that is, in so far as it was the eastern boundary of the land of Canaan, it was the eastern boundary of the promised land. #Nu 34:12| The Jordan rises from several sources near Panium (Banias), and passes through the lakes of Merom (Huleh) and Gennesaret. The two principal features in its course are its descent and its windings. From its fountain heads to the Dead Sea it rushes down one continuous inclined plane, only broken by a series of rapids or precipitous falls. Between the Lake of Gennesaret and the Dead Sea there are 27 rapids. The depression of the Lake of Gennesaret below the level of the Mediterranean is 653 feet, and that of the Dead Sea 1316 feet. (The whole descent from its source to the Dead Sea is 3000 feet. Its width varies form 45 to 180 feet, and it is from 3 to 12 feet deep. -Schaff.) Its sinuosity is not so remarkable in the upper part of its course. The only tributaries to the Jordan below Gennesaret are the Yarmuk (Hieromax) and the Zerka (Jabbok). Not a single city ever crowned the banks of the Jordan. Still Bethshan and Jericho to the west, Gerasa, Pella and Gadara to the east of it were important cities, and caused a good deal of traffic between the two opposite banks. The physical features of the Ghor, through which the Jordan flows, are treated of under PALESTINE.

jordan in Schaff's Bible Dictionary

JOR'DAN (the descender), the great river of Palestine, as the Nile is of Egypt. Name. -- "Jordan" (the Hebrew Yarden) signifies, from its derivation, "the descender." It is always joined with the article in the 0.T., with two exceptions, Ps 42:6; Job 40:23. The Arabs call it esh-Sheriah, or "the watering-place." A tradition as old as St. Jerome, a.d. 400, says that the Jordan derived its name from two rivers, the Jor, rising at Banias, and the Dan, rising at Tell el-Kadi. But this tradition seems to be erroneous; for according to Gen 13:10, the river was known to Abraham as the Jordan long before the children of Dan gave their name to Leshem, Josh 19:47, or Laish. Jud 18:29. Sources. -- The Jordan rises among the mountains of Anti-Lebanon, and has four sources: (1). The Hambany, which issues from the large fountain 'Ain Furar, near Hasbeya, at an altitude of 1700 feet above the sea. This pool, which the natives say is 1000 feet deep, Macgregor found to have a depth of 11 feet. (2) The Banias, which rises near the ruins of Banias (Caesarea-Philippi), at the base of Mount Hermon, 1140 feet above the sea-level. (3) The Seddan, rising in a large fountain on the west side of the Tell el-Kadi ("hill of the judge," the site of the city of Dan). In the midst of a thicket of oleander bushes is a large pool, 50 or 60 yards wide, with the water bubbling out of the ground in a full-grown stream. This, which Josephus calls the Little Jordan, is the most copious source. (4) The Esh-Shar, a minor tributary, only one or two yards broad. Besides the [image -4, 32, 285, 460, 19382] above four sources, there are numerous small streams from the springs of Lebanon, which find their way into the swamp above Lake Huleh, and contribute to swell the Jordan. Course of the Stream. -- At a point about 4 miles below Tell el-Kadi the Hanbany unites with the other two principal sources. At this point the Jordan is 45 feet wide, and flows in a channel from 12 to 30 feet below the level of the plain. After emerging from a broad morass the waters expand into Lake el-Huleh, 4 1/4 miles long, 2 3/4 miles wide, having descended 1434 feet. See Merom, The Waters of. Issuing from the lake in a sluggish current, the descent soon makes it a rapid torrent, which in a course of 9 miles descends 897 feet to the Sea of Galilee, 682 1/2 feet below the Mediterranean. See Galilee, Sea of. The popular notion that the waters of the river do not seem to mingle with those of the lake, "but pass through in a united stream, is a "fable." From the Sea of Tiberias to the Dead Sea there is one deep depression, the hills from the east and west nearly meeting in many places. This depression is filled up to a certain level with an alluvial deposit, forming a vast plain called the Jordan Valley, or Ghor (the hollow). This is the " upper plain." It varies in width from 1 to 12 miles. The river has cut out for itself a plain lower than the preceding by some 50 to 100 feet, and from a quarter of a mile to a mile wide. This is the "lower plain," through which the river, some 60 yards wide, winds its way. During the spring floods this lower plain is inundated. Although the distance in a straight line between Tiberias and the Dead Sea is only 66 miles, the actual distance the stream flows, on account of its many windings, is 200 miles, and the fall 667 feet. Twenty-seven threatening rapids were counted by Lieut. Lynch, besides many others of minor importance. The whole distance from the sources of the river to its mouth is not more than 136 miles in a straight line. The whole descent is 2999 feet to the Dead Sea, which, according to the latest determination of the British Survey, is 1292 feet below the sea-level, although Lynch had reported it at 1317 feet. See Salt Sea. The width of the stream varies from 45 to 180 feet, and its depth from 3 to 12 feet. Tributaries. -- Between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea two considerable rivers enter the Jordan from the east. (1) Wady Mandhur (the Jarmuk or Yarmuk of the Rabbins, and the Hieromax of Pliny). This stream formerly divided Bashan and Gilead. (2) Wady Zerka, the Jabbok, which enters the Jordan 20 miles north of Jericho and was formerly the northern boundary of Amnion. Between the above two Dr. Selah Merrill found "no less than eleven living streams, more than half of which can be called large ones." Between the Jabbok and the Wady Nimrin there are no streams and the region is barren, but below the Wady Nimrin several living streams were noted. Hot springs of considerable size have been found in as many as ten different localities in the Jordan Valley. The temperature of those at El-Hama, near the Yarmuk, is from 100 to 115 degrees. Bridges and Fords. -- There are the remains of several bridges crossing the river, which date back to Roman times. One of these, a few hundred yards above Damieh (the "Adam" of Josh 3:16), marks the crossing-place of the great road from central Palestine to the East. Dr. Merrill says there is reason to believe that this bridge existed in Christ's time, and it is on the road by which the Saviour went from Galilee to Jerusalem. Below Lake Hileh is a bridge called "Bridge of Jacob's Daughter," probably built in the fifteenth century. There are four principal fords over the river: the lower one, opposite Jericho, near the famous bathing-place of the pilgrims; another, eastward of Sakut; and two others, nearer the Sea of Galilee. At low water there are many other points at which the river might be easily forded, and the British Survey discovered evidences of various fords. During the floods the Arabs are frequently obliged to swim their horses across the river. Climate and Vegetation. -- The great depression of the Jordan Valley gives to it a semi-tropical character. "In its natural products it stands unique, a tropical oasis sunk in the temperate zone." Under the intense heat vegetation advances with wonderful rapidity, Source of the Jordan. (After plans by Major Wilson, R.E.) The figures denote the heights in feet above the sea-level. but is as quickly scorched wherever the water-supply is not abundant. In the marshes of Huleh are acres of papyrus, the reeds sometimes reaching 16 feet in height. This reed is now wholly extinct in Egypt, according to Tristram (Natural History, p. 11), and to find it again one must travel either to India or to Abyssinia. Farther south along the river's course are the jujube (a tropical tree), date-palm, oleander, tamarisk, "zukkum," or false balm of Gilead, osher, henna, etc. Even in the depth of winter the thermometer ranges from 60 to 80 degrees. Scripture History. -- The first mention Course of the Jordan from Sea of Galilee to Dead Sea. (After plans by Major Wilson, R.E.) of the Jordan is in " Gen 13:10, where Lot beheld the plain of the Jordan as the garden of the Lord; "Jacob crossed and recrossed it, Gen 32:10; the Israelites passed over it in entering the Promised Land, Josh 3, Josh 4; Ps 114:3. The phenomenon of the river overflowing its banks at the time of harvest is still witnessed. The snows from Lebanon melt in the spring-time and swell the current of the Jordan at the time of the harvest, which, in the hot climate of the Jordan Valley, comes in April. Prof. Porter of Belfast, at a visit in the middle of April, found it impossible to cross the river at the usual ford near Jericho, and was compelled to go a day's journey up the banks to Damieh. Among those who crossed over the Jordan were Gideon, "faint yet pursuing" after Zebah and Zalmunna, Jud 8:4-5; the Ammonites, invading Judah, Jud 10:9; Abner, in flight, 2 Sam 2:29; David, in flight, 2 Sam 17:22, and returning to his capital, 2 Sam 19:15-18 (mention is here made of a ferryboat, probably only a raft, the only time in Scripture); David, to war with the Syrians; Absalom, in pursuit of his father, 2 Sam 17:24; Elijah and Elisha, parting the waters with the mantle. 2 Kgs 2:6-14. As two and a half tribes of Israel dwelt east of the river, the amount of crossing and recrossing must have been considerable, and the best fords were well known. Comp. Josh 2:7; Jud 3:28; Num 7:24; Jud 12:5-6. The river was known to Job, Job 40:23, and Jeremiah speaks of "the swelling of Jordan." Jer 12:6; Jer 49:19; Jer 60:44. Noteworthy miracles, in addition to those already mentioned, were the curing of Naaman, 2 Kgs 6:14, and the making the iron to swim. 2 Kgs 6:6. The Jordan is mentioned about 180 times in the O.T. In the N.T. it is mentioned 16 times. The chief events noted in connection with it in the N.T. are John's baptism of the multitudes. Matt 3:6, and especially his baptism of Jesus. Mark 1:9. In commemoration of this latter event it is the custom for Christian pilgrims in great numbers to bathe in the Jordan not far from Jericho at Easter. The cities mentioned in Scripture in connection with the Jordan are few. The chief ones near it were Jericho and Gilgal, Succoth and Bethshan. Traces of several towns have been noted on the east side, in the valley between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. The Jordan has been several times navigated in a boat in modern times -- by Costigan, 1835; by Molyneaux, 1847; by Lieut. Lynch, 1848; by J. Macgregor (Rob Roy), 1869. "The sight of the Jordan," says Schaff, " is rather disappointing. It bears no comparison in majesty and beauty to the great rivers of Europe and America. Naaman thought the clear rivers of his native Damascus far superior, yet the Abana and Pharpar could not wash away his leprosy. Its chief importance is historic. In this respect the Jordan surpasses the Hudson and the Mississippi, the Rhine and the Danube, and even the Nile. It marks the termination of the wanderings of the children of Israel from the banks of the Nile, and the beginning of their history as an independent nation in their own home. It blends the memories of the old and new Covenants as the culmination of John's testimony and the inauguration of Christ's kingdom." -- Through Bible Lands, p. 299. "Surely," says Macgregor, "the Jordan is by far the most wonderful stream on the face of the earth, and the memories of its history will not be forgotten in heaven." -- Rob Roy on the Jordan, p. 406. It is a sacred stream alike to Jew, Ishmaelite, Christian, and Mohammedan, and in this surpasses in interest any other river in the world.

jordan in Fausset's Bible Dictionary

From yarad "to descend," Arab. "the watering place." Always with the Hebrew article "the Jordan," except Job 40:23; Psalm 42:6. 200 miles long from its source at Antilebanon to the head of the Dead Sea. It is not navigable, nor has it ever had a large town on its banks. The cities Bethshan and Jericho on the W., and Gerasa, Pella, and Gadara to the E. of 2 Chronicles 17:8. Jordan, produced intercourse between the two sides of the river. Yet it is remarkable as the river of the great plain (ha Arabah, now el Ghor) of the Holy Land, flowing through the whole from N. to S. Lot from the hills on the N.W. of Sodom seeing the plain well watered by it, as Egypt is by the Nile (Lot's allusion to Egypt is apposite, Abram having just left it: Genesis 12:10-20), chose that district as his home, in spite of the notorious wickedness of the people (Genesis 13:10). Its sources are three. The northernmost near Hasbeya between Hermon and Lebanon; the stream is called Hasbany. The second is best known, near Banias, i.e. Caesarea Philippi (the scene of Peter's confession, Matthew 16:16); a large pool beneath a high cliff, fed by gushing streamlets, rising at the mouth of a deep cave; thence the Jordan flows, a considerable stream. The third is at Dan, or Tel el Kady (Daphne); from the N.W. corner of a green eminence a spring bursts forth into a clear wide pool, which sends a broad stream into the valley. The three streams unite at Tel Dafneh, and flow sluggishly through marsh land into lake Merom (Huleh). Capt. Newbold adds a fourth, wady el Kid on the S.E. of the slope, flowing from the springs Esh Shar. Indeed Anti-Lebanon abounds in gushing streams, which all make their way into the swamp between Bahias and Huleh and become part of the Jordan. The traditional site of Jacob's crossing Jordan (Jisr Benat Yacobe) at his first leaving Beersheba for Padan Aram is a mile and a half from Merom, and six from the sea of Galilee; in those six its descent with roaring cataracts over the basaltic rocks is 1,050 ft.This, the part known to Naaman in his invasions, is the least attractive part of its course, and unfavorably contrasted with Abana and Pharpar of his native land (2 Kings 5:12). From the sea of Galilee it winds 200 miles in the 60 miles of actual distance to the Dead Sea. Its tortuous course is the secret of the great depression (the Dead Sea being 663 ft. below the lake of Galilee) in this distance. On Jacob's return from Padan Aram he crossed near where the Jabbok (Zerka) enters the Jordan (Genesis 32:10,22). The next crossing recorded is that of Joshua over against Jericho, the river being then flooded, in harvest time in April, in consequence of the rainy season and the melting of the snow of Hermon (Joshua 3:15,16; 4:12,13; 5:10-12). The men of Jericho had pursued the spies to the fords there (2:7), the same as those "toward Moab" where the Moabites were slain (Judges 3:28). Higher up were the fords Bethbarah or Bethabara (house of passage), where Gideon intercepted the fleeing Midianites (7:24) and the Gileadites slew the Ephraimites (12:6), probably the place also of Jacob's crossing. Near was "the clay ground between Succoth and Zarthan" used for Solomon's foundry (1 Kings 7:46). Three banks may be noted in the Ghor or Jordan valley, the upper or first slope (the abrupt edge of a wide table land reaching to the Hauran mountains on the E. and the high hills on the W. side), the lower or middle terrace embracing the strip of land with vegetation, and the true banks of the river bed, with a jungle of agnus castus, tamarisks, and willows and reed and cane at the edge, the stream being ordinarily 30 yards wide. At the flood the river cannot be forded, being 10 or 12 ft. deep E. of Jericho; but in summer it can, the water being low. To cross it in the flood by swimming was an extraordinary feat, performed by the Gadites who joined David (1 Chronicles 12:15); this was impossible for Israel under Joshua with wives and children. The Lord of the whole earth made the descending waters stand in a heap very far from their place of crossing, namely, by the town of Adam, that is beside Zarthan or Zaretan, the moment that the feet of the priests bearing the ark dipped in the water. The priests then stood in the midst of the dry river bed until all Israel crossed over. Joshua erected a monument of 12 large stones in the river bed where the priests had stood, near the E. bank of the river. This would remain at least for a time as a memorial to the existing generation, besides the monument erected at Gilgal (Joshua 4:3,6,7,9,20). By this lower ford David passed to fight Syria (2 Samuel 10:17), and afterwards in his flight from Absalom to Mahanaim E. of Jordan. There Judah escorted him, and hecrossed in a ferry boat (2 Samuel 17:22; 19:15,18). Here Elijah and Elisha divided the waters with the prophet's mantle (2 Kings 2:4,8,14). At the upper fords Naaman washed off his leprosy. Here too the Syrians fled, when panic struck by the Lord (2 Kings 7:15). John the Baptist "first" baptized at the lower ford near Jericho, where all Jerusalem and Judea resorted, being near; where too our Lord took refuge from Jerusalem, and where many converts joined Him, and from from whence He went to Bethany to raise Lazarus (John 10:39,40; 11:1). John's next baptisms were (John 1:29-34) at see BETHABARA (or "Bethany") the upper ford, within reach of the N.; there out of Galilee the Lord Jesus and Andrew repaired after the baptisms in the S. (Luke 3:21), and were baptized. His third place of baptism was near Aenon and Salim, still further to the N., where the water was still deep though it was summer, after the Passover (John 2:13-23), for there was no ford there (John 3:23); he had to go there, the water being too shallow at the ordinary fords. John moved gradually northwards toward Herod's province where ultimately he was beheaded; Jesus coming from the N. southwards met John half way. The overflow of Jordan dislodged the lion from its lair on the wooded banks (Jeremiah 49:19); in Jeremiah 12:5 some translated "the pride of Jordan," (compare 2 Kings 6:2,) "if in the champaign country alone thou art secure, how wilt thou do when thou fallest into the wooded haunts of wild beasts?" (Proverbs 24:10.) Between Merom and lake Tiberias the banks are so thickly wooded as often to shut out the view of the water. Four fifths of Israel, nine tribes and a half, dwelt W., and one fifth, two and a half, dwelt E. of Jordan. The great altar built by the latter was the witness of the oneness of the two sections (Joshua 22:10-29). Of the six cities of refuge three were E., three W. of Jordan, at equal distances. Jordan enters Gennesareth two miles below the ancient city Julias or Bethsaida of Gaulonitis on the E. bank. It is 70 ft. wide at its mouth, a sluggish turbid stream. The lake of Tiberias is 653 ft. below the Mediterranean level. The Dead Sea is 1,316 ft. below the Mediterranean, the springs of Hasbeiya are 1,700 above the Mediterranean, so that the valley falls more than 3,000 ft. in reaching the N. end of the Dead Sea. The bottomdescends 1,308 ft. lower, in all 2,600 below the Mediterranean. The Jordan, well called "the Descender," descends 11 ft. every mile. Its sinuosity is less in its upper course. Besides the Jabbok it receives the Hieromax (Yarmuk) below Gennesareth. From Jerusalem to Jordan is only a distance of 20 miles; in that distance the descent is 3,500 ft., one of the greatest chasms in the earth; Jerusalem is 2,581 ft. above the Mediterranean. Bitumen wells are not far from the Hasbeya in the N. Hot springs abound about Tiberias; and other tokens of volcanic action, tufa, etc., occur near the Yarmuk's mouth and elsewhere. Only on the E. border of lake Huleh the land is now well cultivated, and yields largely wheat, maize, rice, etc. Horses, cattle, and sheep, and black buffaloes (the "bulls of Bashan") pasture around. W. of Gennesareth are seen grain, palms, vines, figs, melons, and pomegranates. Cultivation is rare along the lower Jordan, but pink oleanders, arbutus, rose hollyhocks, the purple thistle, marigold, and anemone abound. Tracks of tigers and wild boars, flocks of wild ducks, cranes, and pigeons have been seen by various explorers. Conder considers the tells in the Jordan valley and the Esdraelon plain as artificial, and probably the site of the stronghold of ancient towns; the slopes are steep; good water is always near; they are often where no natural elevation afforded a site for a fortress. There are no bridges earlier than the Roman. The Saracens added or restored some. The Roman bridge of 10 arches, Jisr Semakh, was on the route from Tiberias to Gadara. In coincidence with Scripture, the American survey sets down three fords: that at Tarichaea, the second at the Jabbok's confluence with' Jordan, and that at Jericho. The Jordan seldom now overflows its banks; but Lieutenant Lynch noticed sedge and driftwood high up in the overhanging trees on the banks, showing it still at times overflows the plain. Anciently, when forests abounded more than now, Mount Hermon had more snow and rain falling on it, and Jordan was therefore flooded to overflow. It is plain from Joshua 3:15; 4:18 compare with Isaiah 8:7, that Jordan was not merely full to the brim, but overflowed its banks. The flood never reaches beyond the lower line of the Ghor, which is covered with vegetation. The plain of the Jordan between the sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea is generally eight miles broad, but at the N. end of the Dead Sea the hills recede so that the width is 12 miles, of which the W. part is named "the plains of Jericho." The upper terrace immediately under the hills is covered with vegetation; under that is the Arabah or desert plain, barren in its southern part except where springs fertilize it, but fertile in its northern part and cultivated by irrigation. Grove remarks of the Jordan: "so rapid that its course is one continued cataract, so crooked that in its whole lower and main course it has hardly a half mile straight, so broken with rapids that no boat can swim any distance continuously, so deep below the adjacent country that it is invisible and can only be with difficulty approached; refusing all communication with the ocean, and ending in a lake where navigation is impossible useless for irrigation, it is in fact what its Arabic name signifies, nothing but a ‘great watering place,' Sheriat el Khebir."Geologists find that the Jordan valley was caused by a sudden violent depression after the late cretaceous period, having a chain of lakes at three levels. The level is gradually lowering, and the area of the lakes diminishing by denudation and evaporation.